A new report card on New York State's progress in improving public education is far from stellar. Issued by the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), "Are We There Yet?" finds the state is moving in the right direction only in expanding access to pre-K and creating community schools. Otherwise, New York's policymakers are failing to ensure equity for all students in areas like expanded learning time, providing challenging and engaging curriculum, school climate, and funding.
The overwhelming message of the report card is that NY, and the nation as a whole, can't close the achievement gaps in education without closing the opportunity gaps that put children from low-income communities (who are predominantly children of color) at a disadvantage.
With 1 in 5 children living in poverty, our national education policy must focus on ensuring every child has access to resources and opportunities like pre-K, wraparound health, social and academic supports, highly trained and experienced teachers, and classroom curricula that put them on track for college or a career. Set aside Common Core and high-stakes testing for a moment – whether or not a school system can provide these resources and opportunities is the standard by which every state and policymaker should be held accountable.